I’ve been listening to Johannes Brahms’ Intermezzo in Eb Major off and on for the last week or so, after being led to it by something I read in Evan Eisenberg’s excellent book entitled The Recording Angel (Eisenberg refers to Brahms as “the great consoler”).
My interest was piqued by that phrase, although as I sought out some Brahms, I wasn’t feeling any strong, immediate need or desire for comfort. In listening, however, and in hearing the aforementioned intermezzo in particular, I was influenced, somehow. I felt the emergence of a melancholy feeling, which was then addressed and assuaged by the music. I was in fact comforted.
The mystery of how this kind of thing happens has been pondered and expressed by so many smart and articulate folks that I think I had better keep my ears open and my mouth shut on the issue, at least for a while. In the meantime, I wonder if any of you out there have thoughts about this particular conundrum:
Does music create the feelings you have while you listen, or does it lure them out of you?
Can music impose a feeling upon you that you don’t really have? Can it introduce you to a feeling that you’ve never had (if there is such a thing)?
Considering the fairly extraordinary fact that in the span of five minutes you can 1. learn of a piece’s existence, 2. search it out, 3. listen to it, and 4. thereafter find yourself listening to that piece and only that piece for days afterward; how is it that certain pieces of music are so seductive and/or addictive?